Deone Bucannon

West Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Ford

The 49ers have used three first-round picks on defensive linemen since 2015, and each of those figures to be in the starting lineup Sunday. With Tank Carradine on IR, Solomon Thomas will likely start at San Francisco’s strong-side defensive end spot, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The 49ers have used Thomas as an edge defender, but DC Robert Saleh envisions the No. 2 overall pick as a “premier inside rusher” once he develops. Saleh said Thomas “could be a good edge rusher,” so it’s clear the first-year 49ers coordinator wants to see how the Stanford product functions from a defensive tackle spot.

We do need to find ways to get him inside to rush the passer a little bit more,” Saleh said, via Barrows.

The 49ers, though, used first-round picks on interior defenders Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner the previous two years. Buckner rates as Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 interior defender, behind only J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh, through three games. The new-look 49ers defensive staff wanted to decrease Buckner’s workload upon being hired, Saleh calling it “criminal” for Buckner to exceed 1,000 snaps as he did as a rookie, but Barrows observes those stances softening as the season’s begun. At 179 defensive plays, Buckner is on pace for nearly the 1,005 snaps he played last season now. Injuries to Carradine and Ronald Blair, and the release of current Packers cog Quinton Dial, has thinned out a potential 49ers D-line rotation.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions.

  • The Cardinals are not receiving Jared Veldheer‘s best work thus far this season. The team’s move of the veteran left tackle to the right side has not gone well, and Veldheer might be playing in his final Arizona season. While Veldheer took a day away from the team to consider leaving football earlier this year, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com notes (on Twitter) the veteran lineman would like to return in 2018. However, Jurecki does not expect him to stay with the Cardinals. Veldheer’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $35MM deal — one that includes a $10.25MM cap hold for 2018. He profiles as a cap casualty at this point.
  • Deone Bucannon will make his season debut after an extensive layoff due to an ankle injury. Bruce Arians confirmed the inside linebacker will be ready to suit up in Week 4. Haason Reddick, the fill-in player here, will likely start Sunday while Bucannon is gradually worked back into the fold, per Arians.
  • The Chiefs, though, will be without a key front-seven piece in their Week 4 game. Dee Ford will miss Kansas City’s Monday-night home game against Washington. With Tamba Hali already being conserved for the stretch run via the PUP list, this will leave the AFC West leaders thin at outside linebacker. Ford’s dealing with a back injury.
  • The gap between Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard remains too wide for the 49ers to consider a quarterback change, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. Hoyer’s system knowledge giving the embattled 49ers their best chance to win now makes him unlikely to be unseated any time soon, Maiocco notes.

West Notes: Bolles, Bucannon, Chiefs, Hawks

Despite the Broncos fearing multiple severe injuries for left tackle Garett Bolles, the rookie suited up for practice on Thursday and has a chance to play against the Bills. Vance Joseph (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post) said the team thought Bolles’ injury, determined to be a bruise on his lower left leg, was more serious than it ended up being. Joseph said the first-round pick is “getting better fast” but is obviously hesitant about proclaiming him ready to return to the starting lineup. Bolles has fared well in his first two games, prior to being carted off in the third quarter of the Broncos’ Week 2 win.

Bolles said he also “thought it was serious” and will not rush back. Denver’s bye comes in Week 5, so holding Bolles out for two games would make sense. But his return to practice, on a limited basis, so soon bodes well for a possible return against the Bills or Raiders before the week off.

Donald Stephenson initially received the call to replace Bolles at left tackle Sunday, but utility man Allen Barbre ended up seeing more time there. Barbre and Max Garcia were alternating at left guard, but the veteran played tackle with the Eagles at times in recent years and provides versatility if the Broncos aren’t keen on throwing Stephenson — whom they replaced at right tackle in free agency with Menelik Watson — back out there. Bolles represents the fourth left tackle starter in four seasons for the Broncos, who have also seen numerous players line up with the first-stringers on the right edge in that time.

Here’s more from the Western divisions prior to tonight’s NFC West matchup.

  • Deone Bucannon‘s lengthy recovery from an ankle injury, one he re-aggravated just before Week 1, could produce the Cardinals inside linebacker returning to action in Week 3, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes (on Twitter). Bruce Arians said (via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com) Bucannon’s “getting real close” to returning but would be on a snap count if he did so against the Cowboys. The Cards have used Karlos Dansby and first-rounder Haason Reddick as starters while Bucannon’s been out. Bucannon underwent surgery in May.
  • Speaking of injury returns, it sounds like the Chiefs are planning to make cornerback Steven Nelson one of their IR-boomerang players. The third-year corner is eligible to come off IR in Week 9, and Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star notes that return is likely. For the time being, the Chiefs have gotten by with 2016 practice squad promotion Terrance Mitchell operating as Marcus Peters‘ top complement. However, Pro Football Focus rates Mitchell and Phillip Gaines — the former third-round pick whom Mitchell usurped late last season — as its Nos. 96 and 100 full-time cornerbacks through two games. A core muscle injury sidelined Nelson, K.C.’s primary slot defender last season.
  • Do the Seahawks miss Jermaine Kearse? Seattle’s offense has largely sputtered in its first two games, and Doug Baldwin does see a hole where Kearse — traded to the Jets for Sheldon Richardson — departed. “Specifically on the football field, just the intricacies that he did in our offense, guys aren’t used to doing it, they didn’t have to do them, because Jermaine was so willing and able to do it, now guys are being called to do those things and that is another challenge for us,” Baldwin said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Paul Richardson and third-round rookie Amara Darboh are seeing more time, Richardson especially, after Kearse’s exit. Baldwin leads Seattle’s wideout contingent with 107 air yards; no other Hawks pass-catcher has 80.

Cardinals’ Deone Bucannon Reinjures Ankle

It does not look like Deone Bucannon will be returning as soon as the Cardinals hoped. The fourth-year linebacker re-aggravated the ankle injury that’s defined his offseason, Bruce Arians said Monday (via Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com, on Twitter).

Arians said the linebacker sprained his ankle on his first day back at practice, which came early last week. The fifth-year Cardinals coach added (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, on Twitter) Bucannon has “no chance” to play Sunday in Arizona’s opener.

Bucannon was on track to be ready by Sunday prior to the setback, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic tweets, and Arians noted this could be a multi-game absence. The Cardinals have Karlos Dansby and first-rounder Haason Reddick in place now that Bucannon is out. Philip Wheeler and Josh Bynes are also in the mix as new additions.

The only member of Arizona’s 2016 inside-linebacking corps set to return this season, Bucannon underwent ankle surgery in May and missed almost all of the Cards’ offseason work. He finished with 89 tackles last season in 13 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Raiders, Broncos, Cards, Rams

The Raiders have activated rookie cornerback Gareon Conley from the active/PUP list, the club announced today, adding that Conley is practicing for the first time on Tuesday. Conley, of course, slid to the 24th overall selection in the draft following rape allegations, but he was eventually cleared and won’t face charges. While he still needs to get up to speed, it’s possible Conley could become a starter sooner rather than later. Fellow cornerback Sean Smith –who’s facing his own legal troubles — has been demoted from Oakland’s starting lineup, meaning Conley could see expanded action during his rookie campaign.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Veteran safety T.J. Ward may not be the only player the Broncos are open to trading, as the club could also listen to offers for fourth-year receiver Cody Latimer. speculates Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). Latimer, a second-round draft choice in 2014, has never broken out in Denver, as he’s posted 16 receptions over three seasons. However, he’s still young (25), plays special teams (41% of the Broncos’ ST plays a year ago), and offers intriguing measurables (here’s his MockDraftable profile). And perhaps most importantly, Latimer could be had for minimal cost, especially given the rise of fellow receivers Jordan Taylor and Kalif Raymond in Denver, as Renck details.
  • While Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon was recently removed from the active/PUP list, it’s an open question as to whether he’ll be ready Week 1, writes Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. The Cardinals have the depth to withstand a short Bucannon absence, as they signed Karlos Dansby, Josh Bynes, and Philip Wheeler and drafted Haason Reddick this offseason. But a Bucannon injury will be felt, as he played on nearly three-quarters of Arizona’s defensive snaps last season, managing 89 tackles in the process. He’s signed through 2018 under the terms of his fifth-year option.
  • Rams tight end Temarrick Hemingway will require surgery for a fractured fibula and is out indefinitely, tweets Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. Hemingway, who appeared in eight games last season after being drafted in the sixth round, has been challenging for a rotational role behind fellow tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee, per Bonsignore, which makes Hemingway’s injury all the more devastating. Los Angeles could conceivably sign another tight end before the season begins, although high-profile free agents like Gary Barnidge or Ladarius Green probably aren’t a fit.
  • On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that special taxes may be raised via citizen’s initiative through a simple majority, instead of the two-thirds majority that was previously required, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune. While those new rules won’t help bring the Chargers back to San Diego, it could allow the city to eventually lure another club to the region. However, the Chargers’ 2016 stadium measure received only 43.64% of the vote, per Acee, meaning taxes wouldn’t have been raised even under the new conditions.

NFC Notes: Stafford, Donald, Packers, Cards

There have been talks throughout the offseason that the Lions are confident that they’ll get franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford to ink an extension. General manager Bob Quinn expressed those same sentiments to fans on Saturday prior to the team’s “mock game.”

“Matt has taken this situation with his contract in stride,” Quinn said (via ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein). “It doesn’t bother him and it doesn’t bother me. I’m confident we’ll get something done.

“There’s a long way to go on that, but it’s good on both sides.”

Stafford, 29, is set to enter the final year of his contract, and Rothstein writes that the former No. 1 overall pick could be in line to become the NFL’s highest-paid player. We learned earlier this week that there was still a “substantial gap” between Stafford’s asking price and Detroit’s offer.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • We learned last night that the Rams and Aaron Donald remain on “amicable” terms despite the interior defender’s holdout. Despite the relative optimism, head coach Sean McVay said not much as changed in regards to negotiations. “Not to this point,” McVay said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “Kind of still same as. Hopeful and waiting for some day when we get that good news, but in the meantime we move on and like we’ve said before – confident that he’s working hard while he’s not here and trust that when we do get that worked out hopefully he’ll be ready to go and there won’t be any setbacks. It’ll be good to get him if we’re able to come to that decision and get that thing done.”
  • Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon is on track to return for Week 1, Bruce Arians said (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). Bucannon is on the Active/PUP list presently after undergoing ankle surgery in May, and while Arians hopes the safety-turned-linebacker can have a 10-day preparation period before the regular season, the goal remains Week 1.
  • Tight end Emanuel Byrd will be auditioning for the Packers, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The undrafted free agent out of Marshall initially signed with the Chiefs in May, but he was waived by the organization in late July.
  • Hall of Famer and former Eagles executive Jim Gallagher died Saturday at the age of 88 (via Philly.com’s Paul Domowitch). Gallagher started working for the organization back in 1949, and he served as the Eagles’ personnel director, public relations director, director of sales and marketing, and director of alumni relations until his retirement in 1995. “Jim was one of the kindest and most remarkable men you could ever meet,’’ Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said. “His dedication to this organization went far beyond the 46 years he spent here, and his impact was far-reaching…Everyone who was fortunate enough to meet Jim knows how much he loved the Eagles, but also how much he truly cared for and invested in the lives of others. To borrow one of his famous phrases, Jim was a ‘first-round pick.”

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Latest On Deone Bucannon’s Recovery

More than two months following his ankle surgery, the Cardinals have placed linebacker Deone Bucannon on the physically unable to perform list, according to AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban (via Twitter). The team has also placed linebacker Jarvis Jones on the active non-football-injury list.

Deone Bucannon (vertical)The Bucannon news isn’t particularly surprising, although the team was reportedly hoping that the linebacker would avoid the PUP and be healthy by early September.

“Deone is close,” coach Bruce Arians told AZCardinals.com. “He’s getting there. I think he’s a little bit ahead of schedule. We have our fingers crossed. The first game is his due date, so to speak. Hopefully we’ll have him ready to play.”

“I want to start the season,” Bucannon added. “I’m not here to rush anything and I’m not going to put a timetable on it, but at the same time, I want to get out there as quickly as I possibly can. But get out there at 100 percent so I can do the best for the team and not be a liability.”

Following two years at strong safety, the versatile defender spent most of his time at linebacker last season, compiling 89 tackles and one fumble recovery in 13 games. Following his solid campaign, the organization picked up the former first rounder’s fifth-year option, keeping him in Arizona through the 2018 season.

Meanwhile, Jones joined the organization on a one-year deal earlier this offseason. After having lost both Alex Okafor and Calais Campbell this offseason, Jones was supposed to provide some depth, especially at pass rusher. Of course, the 2013 first-round pick only has six sacks through four NFL seasons, but he did set several career-highs in 2016, including tackles (43) and forced fumbles (two).

Roster Resource currently has Chandler JonesKarlos DansbyMarkus Golden, and Bucannon listed at the team’s starting linebackers. If the team is eyeing a true inside linebacker to replace Bucannon in the lineup, they could opt for either Zaviar Gooden or Scooby Wright. Otherwise, they could consider the assortment of outside linebackers on the roster, including first-rounder Haason Reddick. Assuming Jones returns relatively soon, he’ll presumably be competing with Kareem MartinGabe Martin, and Alani Fua for second-team reps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cards’ Deone Bucannon Has Ankle Surgery

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters today that linebacker Deone Bucannon recently had ankle surgery (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Bucannon is a PUP candidate as a result, but the team hopes that he will be back by early September. Deone Bucannon (vertical)

Bucannon, 25 in August, played primarily at linebacker in 2016 after trying his hand at strong safety in the previous two campaigns. All in all, he registered 89 total tackles, two pass deflections, and one fumble recovery in 13 games before his troublesome ankle shut him down in December. The former first-round pick was ranked as the No. 34 linebacker in the NFL by Pro Football Focus at the time of his injury, a score that was boosted a his exceptional 86.1 coverage score.

If the Cardinals are without Bucannon for an extended period of time, they may want to look into adding an experienced inside linebacker. Free agent pickup Karlos Dansby will hold down one ILB spot, but the only other true ILBs on the roster are journeyman Zaviar Gooden and former University of Arizona standout Scooby Wright. Alternatively, if the Cardinals want to fill from within, they could try first round pick Haason Reddick at inside linebacker, though he might be better suited on the outside on passing downs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Pick Up Deone Bucannon’s Option

The Cardinals picked up the fifth-year option for linebacker Deone Bucannon, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. It wasn’t quite a slam dunk that Bucannon’s option would be triggered by Arizona, but it was viewed as likely. The new 2018 season on his deal will be guaranteed for injury only, so the Cardinals will have an escape hatch if he stays healthy but underperforms.Deone Bucannon (vertical)

Bucannon, 25 in August, was used used primarily at linebacker in 2016 after trying to make it work as a strong safety in the previous two seasons. All in all, he has 89 total tackles, two pass deflections, and one fumble recovery in 13 games before an ankle injury shut him down in December. The former first-round pick was ranked as the No. 34 linebacker in the NFL by Pro Football Focus at the time of his injury, a score that was powered by his strong 86.1 coverage grade.

Assuming he stays at linebacker, Bucannon currently projects to start at one of the inside linebacker spots in Arizona’s 3-4 scheme.

For a full rundown of every option decision on 2014 first-round draft picks, check out PFR’s tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Place Branch, Bucannon On IR

The Cardinals lost the game and they lost a couple of important defensive players. Defensive back Tyvon Branch is headed back to IR and linebacker Deone Bucannon has also been lost for the year, the team announced. Right tackle Ulrick John is also likely to go IR with a dislocated shoulder. Tyvon Branch (vertical)

Branch was first shut down in the fall when he suffered a groin injury. After healing up faster than teammate Chris Johnson, Branch was designated as the team’s one player to return from IR. Unfortunately, he has re-aggravated the injury. Branch, who just turned 30, appeared in seven games this year and totaled 27 tackles. He remains under contract through 2017 with a cap number of $4.5MM. If the Cardinals were to cut him before June 1, they’d save $2.75MM against $1.75MM.

Bucannon, 24, has been used primarily at linebacker this year after trying to make it work as a strong safety in the previous two seasons. All in all, he has 89 total tackles, two pass deflections, and one fumble recovery in his 13 games. It appears that the change has worked out for the former first-round pick. Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the No. 34 linebacker in the NFL, though that is powered by a strong 86.1 coverage grade and watered down by weak marks for run defense and pass rush.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Ihenacho, Washington, Brinkley

Washington safety Duke Ihenacho has been watching NBA free agency going crazy, and took to Twitter to express his opinions about minimum contracts for NFL players. Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post captured his tweets, where Ihenacho writes that NFL players have the highest risk of injury and brain trauma, and that the NFL is the richest league, and therefore the minimum salary for players should be $1MM.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC:

  • Washington D.C. wants their NFL franchise to return to the District, but they are unlikely to get support from the Obama administration as long as the team still bears a racial epitaph for their name and logo, writes Jonathan O’Connell of the Washington Post. The National Park Service owns the land beneath Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, and they are unlikely to accommodate the construction of a new stadium, according to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
  • Former Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley decided to sign a two-year deal with the Cowboys this offseason, and the top reason for choosing Dallas is the opportunity to play for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, writes Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News“I played in Minnesota for five years and I remember when he was in Chicago, just thinking about those defenses and the guys with the takeaways, a lot of takeaways,” Brinkley said. “You think about Charles Tillman, you think about Brian Urlacher, you think about Lance Briggs, you think about Tim Jennings, all those guys.”
  • Even though Deone Bucannon was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) doesn’t see the Washington State product having a great career at safety. The draft expert feels that Bucannon should stay at linebacker, where he played the bulk of last season. In 16 games, the Washington State product racked up 86 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and three pass deflections.
  • Former Buccaneers linebacker Brandon Magee has been swinging the bat for the Boston Red Sox Class A affiliate, but he told Pro Football Talk that if an NFL team called him, he would give up baseball to try out, reports Mike Florio. Magee was released from the Buccaneers in March, and had also spent time with the Browns.
  • The Bears hired John Fox in the hope that he could quickly turn the organization around, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The turnaround starts with the attitude of every player on the roster, and the veterans are already buying in. “You go out and get John Fox and Vic Fangio and Adam Gase — you’re sending a message to every player in that locker room that we’re not messing around,” said Jared Allen“We want to win. We want to win now. We certainly have the talent to win. So, get your heads right and let’s go play ball.”